Coconut Macaroon Pie Crust with Pink Grapefruit Aperol Filling

I have a spiral bound notebook that I use for jotting down to-do lists, recipe ideas and notes of inspiration. Last summer, I wrote the names of the four seasons at the top of four separate blank pages. When I brainstorm blog post ideas, I write down the ideas on the season-page I think is the best fit. Having these seasonal lists means I can plan my blog posts ahead and, means I won't forget any potentially good ideas.

It's my very basic version of an editorial calendar.

One of the ideas written on my 'spring' page is 'Macaroon Crust with Lemon'. I'm sure Coconut Macaroon Pie Crust has been done before, but the idea hit me like a lightning bolt - why can't I press sticky coconut macaroon cookie dough into a pie tin, bake it until golden and then fill it with something delicious?

Turns out you can. I tried it this Easter weekend and it worked like a charm.

I used this recipe for the coconut macaroon crust. I didn't bother blending my ingredients in the food processor because I wanted my crust to look a little ragged - I wanted it to look like shredded coconut. Also, the recipe calls for adding vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. I thought the vanilla and coconut might clump together so I came up with a solution:

As for the pie filling - I used this recipe. I used the juice of 1 large pink grapefruit, the zest of the same grapefruit, plus the juice of 1 lemon. I also added 1/4 Cup of Aperol and used milk instead of water to give the filling a creamier look. When I stirred the Aperol into the filling and it turned a heavenly peach colour I knew I was on the right track. Sweet, bitter, crunchy and coconutty, the pie turned out to be something I'd make again and again. The beauty of the crust is you can fill it with anything you want - citrus curd, stewed fruit or chocolate cream are some ideas that sound pretty fantastic to me.

The thing is, if I hadn't stopped to write 'Coconut Macaroon Pie Crust' down in my notebook, I probably would have forgotten all about. Having seasonal lists to refer to is a good system that works for me but it also makes me wonder - How do other bloggers decide what to make/feature on their blogs and what tricks do they use to stay organized? If you have any tips or comments I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Easter :)

Coconut Macaroons

I used to hate coconut.

Not the flavour mind you (I love coconut rum) but the texture. You see, I'm big on texture - especially when it comes to food. You could ask me to try the most amazing tasting thing on the planet but if the texture grosses me out, well, please look away while I spit it into my napkin.

Now I don't know what's changed - age, experience, hormones? - but for the last two years I have been friggin' LOVING coconut!!

A girl I work with, Angela at Ciao Down, loves entering cooking contests. Her latest entries have been submitted to the Real Women of Philadelphia contest with Anna Olson. In order to enter, you have to submit an original recipe using Philly Cream Cheese as an ingredient. She knew she wanted to enter a dessert and she knew she wanted something that was a spin on cheesecake. She originally had planned on a chocolate crust topped with avocado and lime cheesecake and mango glaze, cut into bars. I suggested using a coconut macaroon recipe for the crust, instead of chocolate, because coconut and lime pair so beautifully together. She loved the idea and so did I. In fact, after we talked, I couldn't stop thinking about coconut macaroons. And so here we are.

I found the recipe for the macaroons on AllRecipes. I always look for recipes with the highest ratings because they never disappoint. I also love to read user reviews to find out what's worked and maybe what hasn't worked in the recipe.  The following recipe couldn't possibly be any easier:

Coconut Macaroons (makes about 48 small macaroons)

2/3 C flour

5 1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla (could use 1 vanilla, 1 almond if you want)

  • preheat 350 - line baking sheet with parchment
  • In large bowl, whisk condensed milk and extract
  • Add flour, coconut and salt - mix with hands - it's very sticky!!
  • Roll into small balls (I had to rinse my hands every 5 or 6 balls because my palms were too sticky)
  • Bake about 15 minutes then broil until golden and toasted on top
  • Cool

Now the original recipe calls for a 14oz can of condensed milk but here in Canada, our cans are 10ozSO if you use 1 1/2 cans of condensed milk, what do you do with the extra half a can? Well you make Dulce de Leche of course!! 

Dulce de Leche

Crank your oven to 425 degrees. Pour the leftover half can of condensed milk into a small baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Place the small pan into a slightly larger pan. Fill the larger pan with water until it reaches about halfway up the smaller pan. Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes until the condensed milk is the colour of peanut butter. Check a couple of times to see if you need to add more water. Cool.

The longer you bake the Dulce de Leche the thicker it will become. You can either use it as a dip for your macaroons OR if your Dulce is thick enough, you could sandwich two of them together into a little French Macaron-style cookie!!

WARNING - Don't eat TOO many of these at once if you can help it!! Coconut Oil is known to be a natural laxative (if you catch my drift).

You can check out Angela's video for her Farfalle al Salmone (Bowtie Pasta with Smoked Salmon) (and vote for her!!) here.